insulate heating pipes?

Old 02-18-07, 01:11 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 72
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
insulate heating pipes?

I'm in a debate of whether to insulate my boiler's pipes. I have a separate room dedicated to my boiler and water tank and I'm not sure if I should just leave it alone but that's where 95% of the supply and return pipings are and they radiate alota heat which is a waste. They’re not in the finished space of my basement except for the zoned pipes for that space.

Couple of things you guyz might consider:

1) The water tank and the boiler are right next to each other, they are 2 separate independent systems. The boiler is a direct FHW system with 3 zones.
2) My boiler room is not insulated from the living area of the basement.
3) The zone pipes make some angles and turns but they end up going thru the ceiling in the boiler room perimeter.
4) There's no insulation on the ceiling of my boiler room.
5) the boiler itself is on a cement floor
6) There is a door to close off the boiler room from the living part of the basement. The door is the only way into the boiler room, no stairs nearby.
7) There are no windows in the boiler room.
8) Although I run the basement zone for 5 minutes every hour (to prevent freezing pipes) the basement stays relatively cold (58 F) and dry except for the boiler room which is warm (73-74 F).

My questions are:
1) How much foam thickness do I need for properly insulating pipes?
2) What material is best for this type of insulation?
3) I have about 105 feet of pipe to cover that are part of other zones besides the basement’s. How much of a difference would it make in efficiency?

suggestions are appreciated.

Last edited by kamrandiaz; 02-18-07 at 06:26 AM.
Old 02-18-07, 09:09 AM
nap's Avatar
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 3,821
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 2 Posts
I can't offer specific numbers but I can say this;

Yes, insulate everything that doesn;t move. They wouldn't have an entire trade that does this unless there was some value to it.

Any heat you feel outside of a pipe is money spent that is not providing the designed benefit. The idea is to prevent heat from escaping the transfer medium (water) until it reaches the intended area to be heated.

Ideally, the pipes should be insulated until they reach the transfer unit. That would include any pipes in walls if possible.

Anything less removes your control of the heat and ends up costing money and not giving you the benefit of the heat you paid for.
Old 02-18-07, 09:20 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 72
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
im on it

nap thanks for your suggestions...i'll try my best to even snake and pull pipe insulation inside walls too. I'll keep this forum updated on my progress and post pics.
Old 02-18-07, 09:23 AM
NJT's Avatar
NJT is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 19,710
Upvotes: 0
Received 8 Upvotes on 6 Posts
I might add one caveat to this, and it may not apply in kamrandiaz's case:

If you've got heat piping running through an unheated area that also houses domestic water supply lines, you may want to consider that the heat from those pipes could well be what's keeping your domestic lines from freezing.

Also, while that cheap foam insulation is easy to use, it's really not that good as far as R value goes. Yes, it's better than nothing, but there are better pipe insulations out there.

While you are in the insulating mood, take a look around for areas of the building envelope that could be improved too! (i.e. the rim joist area in the basement)

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: